The media office of the Ministry of Public Health issued a statement expressing “great regret for the death of a person and the injury of another as a result of eating a meal of fish, which turned out to be a type of poisonous puffer fish.”
The ministry warned that “the Lebanese sea contains this type of poisonous fish,” and called on fishermen and consumers to “scrutinize the types of fish they sell or buy, so that it is preferable that the fish be divided according to its types known to the public.”
The Ministry of Public Health publishes, attached to the statement, pictures of the “puffer fish” to facilitate its identification and caution.
Important information about puffer fish
This fish is considered highly toxic to humans unless it is properly cleaned by a professional. Puffer fish poisoning occurs after humans eat parts of the fish that contain tetrodotoxin. This toxin is found primarily in the ovaries, testicles, liver, intestines, and skin. If proper care is not taken while cleaning the fish, the poison can also spread to the meat.
Tetrodotoxin is a neurotoxin, which is much more dangerous than cyanide. The toxin blocks sodium channels in nerve cells, which restricts the proper functioning of nerves in the body. When nerves are damaged, muscles lose their ability to control muscle movement, leading to suffocation and even heart failure. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for puffer poisoning. The only treatment is to wait for the body to naturally excrete the toxin from its system.